A British man has been sentenced to 14 days behind bars for relieving himself next to a memorial plaque to police officer Keith Palmer who lost his life protecting Parliament during the 2017 terrorist attack.
Westminster Magistrates Court found Andrew Banks, aged 28, guilty for “outraging public decency,” the UK media reported on Monday. The Stansted native caused massive uproar after photographs surfaced online showing him urinating less than a foot away from PC Keith Palmer’s memorial outside the Houses of Parliament in London.
Palmer, a Met Police veteran, stopped a knife-wielding terrorist from entering the Palace of Westminster during the 2017 terrorist attack. Being unarmed, he died from stab wounds and was posthumously awarded the George Medal, the second-highest peacetime award for gallantry.
Banks himself, as prosecutors revealed, came to the UK capital to join massive rallies against the toppling of controversial monuments this weekend, but he did not know “which statues” protesters were to protect.
When the incident took place, he was heavily intoxicated, it turns out. The man surrendered to police after his father confronted him on the back of mounting fury on social media.
A lawyer who defended Banks told the court his client had mental health issues and was “ashamed by his action.”
The scandal comes on the back of unrest that erupted across the UK this weekend. Tensions between anti-racism protesters and members of right-wing groups escalated into scuffles, with police intervening to quell the violence.
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In London, those “defending” local historical monuments amassed around the Cenotaph war memorial and the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, which was brutally vandalized earlier in June and later boxed up to protect it from further damage.
As the day progressed, they marched through the city center engaging in a stand-off with riot squads – and later with a rival Black Lives Matter demonstration – throwing bottles as well as kicking and punching officers.